Ellen G. White -- the Myth and the Truth

by Å. Kaspersen


7 -A letter from A.T. Jones

In the month of April, 1906, Ellen G. White sent out a testimony in which she mentions several persons by name. These were well-known men within the Adventist denomination, who had asked pertinent questions about her inspiration. In this testimony, which she claimed was based on a vision, she asks these men to write down their perplexities, and she would do her best to answer them.

Several of the brethren who were mentioned by name did as she asked them to do, but they never received the courtesy of a reply. One of the men who responded to the call, was A.T. Jones. Here follows portions of the letter he wrote to Ellen G. White, dated April 26, 1909. He never got a reply to this letter, for obvious reasons - what could she say? Once more, her false visions had put herself into an embarassing position.

"Dear Sister White: In April 1906 you sent out a communication dated March 30th, 1906 in which are the following words:

"'Recently in the visions of the night I stood in a large company of people. There were present Dr. Kellogg, Elders Jones, Tenny and Taylor, Dr. Paulson, Elder Sadler, Judge Arthur and many of their associates. I was directed by the Lord to request them and any others who have perplexities and grievous things in their minds regarding the testimonies that I have borne, to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help me to answer these objections, and to make plain that which seems to be intricate. Let those who are troubled now place upon paper a statement of the difficulties that perplex their minds, and let us see if we cannot throw some light upon the matter that will relieve their perplexities. . . .I am now charged to request those who are in difficulty in regard to Sister White's work to let their questions appear now, before the great day of judgment comes. . . .'

"And first of all it is proper for me to state why I have not written before:

"1. I never received from you, nor in any way by your instructions, any copy of that communication.

"2. It was a long time before I obtained a copy. And only then did I get a copy from a brother who had never received any copy from you, although he was named in it; and he had obtained his copy from yet another brother to whom you had sent a copy though he was not mentioned in it.

"3. Before I obtained a copy of it, the word came to me that you had called on certain ones, and me amongst them to write out what difficulties might be perplexing their minds concerning your writings, in order that you might explain, etc., and thus it was only that special point that came to my attention. But upon that consideration I would not write, and never would have written: and this is for the reason that such a proposition in itself surrenders at once the whole ground of the claim in behalf of your writings as the word of God, or as given by inspiration of God. For if the writings were really the word of God

a. They need no explanation.b. If the writings to be explained were not the word of God, then I would not want any explanation of them; for I would not care any more for them than for any other writings that were not the word of God.

"Further I knew that the things that could be written, you simply could not explain; and that any explanation would be worse than no explanation. And the event has fully justified this view. For when in honest response to your call, Brother Sadler and Brother Paulson wrote to you in all sincerity their difficulties, in a communication dated June 3rd, 1906, you wrote the following words:

"'Sabbath night, a week ago, after I had been prayer- fully studying over those things, I had a vision, in which I was speaking before a large company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings. I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put into many minds.'

"When Brother Sadler had his letter to you all written and ready to send, he read it to me before he sent it. And then I said to him, 'My Brother, you will never get an answer to that. Any answer would be worse than no answer.' And just so it turned out. To this day Brother Sadler has received no answer to his letter: though in acknowledging the receipt of his letter you promised that you would answer. This promise you made in a letter dated June 14, 1906, in the following words: 'As soon as I can I will clear up, if possible, the misunderstanding regarding the work God has given me to do.'

"To Brother Paulson's letter you did make somewhat of an attempt at an answer on just one point, and this most largely by quoting from Great Controversy, and from the printedTestimonies, matter with which he was already familiar.

"That as relates to Sadler and Paulson: but it is even worse as relates to Dr. Stewart: To Dr. Stewart there was sent a copy of your communication calling for a writing out of doubts, objections, etc., though he was not named in the communication. In response to that call Dr. Stewart wrote a letter to you presenting just what you called for. This letter he sent to you alone, in the confidence of a personal letter. At the same time he sent a letter to W.C. White, your son, in which he asked that an answer should be made to his letter, and that this answer might be received by him within thirty days.

"The next thing that Dr. Stewart heard from his letter, it was in the hands of Elder A.G. Daniells in Takoma Park, Washington, who was then making public use of it to the effect that "Here is a manuscript of seventy-eight pages of objections to the testimonies," etc.; with no intimation that you had written or sent to the author of the manuscript and others a communication calling upon them to do just what he had done; but conveying the impression that the whole thing of the manuscript was, on the part of the author, only a willful and voluntary attack upon the Testimonies. And that is the only kind of an answer to his letter that Dr. Stewart has ever seen or heard of. Neither from you nor from W.C. White has he ever received a word in answer to his letter.

"Now Sister White, you wrote in the name of God, and appealed to men's Christian integrity, and in the presence of the judgment, that they should state to you their perplexities: 'Let it all be written out.' And you put God under pledge for answer - 'The Lord will help me to answer these objections.' That communication was sent personally to Dr. Stewart. He accepted the communication as honestly intended, and wrote accordingly: then, in the presence of all that, can you think, or can you expect any Christian man to think, that the Judgment of God will justify or vindicate as fair, true, and Christian, the course that was pursued with Dr. Stewart's letter?

"Now in the presence of the Judgment, it is only fair that I should believe and recognize the probabilities are that you never saw Dr. Stewart's letter, and never even had a chance to see it, for your sake it is only fair to suppose that the probabilities are altogether that W.C. White received the letter and read it, and then without ever giving you a chance to see it, posted it off to Elder Daniells at Washington. . . .

"And will the Judgment vindicate as fair, true and Christian, the public use of Dr. Stewart's letter to you, with the impression that it was a willful attack upon you and your writings, while concealing the fact made perfectly plain in Dr. Stewart's letter itself, that it was only and altogether in response to the call that you had made in the name of the Lord, which call itself was copied in the very letter of Dr. Stewart's that was being used? And then the public use of his letter has so advertised it that there was such a call for it that another man published it, then again Dr. Stewart was charged with attacking the Testimonies and warring on you. Will the Judgment of God vindicate as the righteousness of God such dealings as that? Can anybody who knows God or has any respect for Him, believe of Him that He would sanction any such procedure as all this? . . .

"Now please let me say a word on God's behalf: In your communication of March 30th, 1906, calling upon certain men by name to place upon paper the statement of the difficulties that perplexed their minds, you wrote the following words:

"'In the visions of the night. . . .I was directed by the Lord to request them and any others who have perplexities and grievous things in their minds regarding the Testimonies that I have borne, to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help me to answer these objections, and to make plain that which seems intricate. . . .Let it all be written out.'

"After having received in answer to that call what some brethren had honestly written, you wrote under date of June 3rd, 1906 the following words: 'I had a vision in which I was speaking before a large company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings. I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put into many minds.'

"Both of these communications profess to be as from God. As representing God, therefore, they present the impossible situation as to God, in truth, that God asked certain men by name that they put in writing a statement of all their difficulties, etc., with the promise of an answer, and then, after He got the statement, refused to answer.

"I repeat, therefore, that as to God in truth, and to any mind that has ever received the revelation of God, that presents an impossible situation. For no person that knows God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, can ever believe it possible of God that He would call men personally by name to Him, only that they should receive a slap in the face, or to be condemned.

"Didn't the Lord know what responses could be made to that call? Didn't He know what response might be made? Yea, didn't He know what responses would be made? Accordingly didn't He know before these statements were written, that there was to be no answer? And He knowing all that, then can anybody except sensible Christian men ever to believe of God that He would deliberately resort to an unworthy trick of mere child's play with sober, well-meaning, manly men, believers, in His own Son?

"Let us set these two statements of yours side by side: 'Recently in the visions of the night I stood in a large company of people . . . .I was directed by the Lord to request them and any others who have perplexities and grievous things in their minds regarding the Testimonies that I have borne, to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help me to answer these objections, and to make plain that which seems intricate. Let it all be written outand submitted to those who desire to remove the Perplexities.'

"'I had a vision in which I was speaking before a large company where many questions were asked concerning my works and writings. I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put into many minds.'

"Sister White, can you or anybody else believe any person who knows God or has respect for him to accept both these statements as coming from God? Can you or anybody else expect that Christian men will believe of God that He will act like that, or that He will treat men in any such way as that?

"Can you or anybody else expect that Christian men will accept any view of inspiration that involves the holy, just and good God in any such a slim and unworthy trick as that? Are we to believe of God that he is such an underling and so irresponsible of Himself, that He can be pledged to a thing that utterly fails? That He can be pledged and unpledged? That when under pledge He can be whiffled about, as the workings out of this case show, so that His pledge shall be worse than nothing? And all this in order to be 'loyal to the Testimonies?'

"Why, Sister White, to believe that and such as that, of God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, would be nothing short of the utmost limit of irreverence.

"Again: In those letters you were asked these questions:

1. 'Do you approve of sending personal testimonies which the Lord has given to men, broadcast to other people?'

2. 'Is it not a Bible rule that when we have any criticism of a brother, it shall be presented to him personally, then afterwards to two or three, and then if he rejects it, to the church?'

"These are vital questions.

"It is the truth that copies of the Testimonies to individuals are sent to the officials of the denomination, at the same time, or even before, they are sent to the individuals to whom they pertain.

"It is the truth that Testimonies to individuals are sent to others than the ones most concerned, and are made public use of, and are even used in print and published everywhere, without their ever having been received, or seen or heard of, by the individual or the ones named in the Testimonies.

"When Brother Tenney was cast out of the church, there was read and used against him, as a basis and authority for casting him out, passages from a Testimony that he never saw and that he never knew anything about until it was used against him in that meeting.

"In the controversy over the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Testimonies that the Sanitarium Board never saw or heard of, have not only been published and used against them; but have been printed and spread broadcast, before the Sanitarium people ever knew that there were such communications in existence.

"Also myself: I have received letters from different parts of the country stating that in the camp meetings Testimonies concerning me have been read, or quoted from, or referred to; but Testimonies that I had never seen.

"That is exactly the case of your communication of February 4, 1907, to Bro. Russell Hart in which I an twice mentioned by name, saying that I would "work in every way possible to get possession" of the Tabernacle. That was used by men (not by Brother Hart) as a 'Testimony' to denounce and decry me, and yet I never saw it, nor knew of any of its contents till February 20, 1909 - more than two years after it was written. . . .

"In the Bible the Lord has directed that when a brother trespasses or is overtaken in a fault he is to be gained and restored: not condemned and denounced. . . .

"This is the word of the Lord directing us how we are to do towards the one that is overtaken in a fault, or who has trespassed. But in the use of your Testimonies this order has been reversed and even disregarded altogether. A man's fault is published to the world in print, or told to everybody but himself. And he is condemned and denounced, without the thing having been told him at all, much less told to him in Christian kindness a second or a third time. . . .

"September 7, 1907, this communication was copied with the usual filing marks "Sept. 7, 1907-8... H. 38 '07." It is only fair to suppose that at least seven of these indicated "-8-" copies were sent to as many different persons and places, and that they have been diligently used to publish and emphasize what is said in the communication concerning me. Yet I never saw it till February 20, 1909; more than two years after it was written. I saw it then only because a brother told me that Brother Hart had a copy, and that others had a copy and were using it. Then when I met Brother Hart I said to him that I had heard that he had a copy of a Testimony in which I was personally mentioned; but that I had never seen it nor known that it was in existenceand that I thought it only fair that I should have a chance to see it. He thought so too and let me take it. The passages that mention me are the following:

"I must act in accordance with the light that the Lord has given me, and I say to you that Brother A.T. Jones and Dr. Kellogg will make every effort possible to get possession of the Tabernacle, in order that they may present their doctrines. We must not allow that house to be used for the promulgation of error. The Tabernacle was built by the Seventh-day Adventist people. It is their property and their loyal representatives should control it. On this question I will stand firm, and if, you and others will take a decided stand with us, you will be doing that which God requires of you at this time.

"We must make sure the control of the Tabernacle; for powerful Testimonies are to be borne in it in favor of the truth. This is the word of the Lord to you and others. Elder A.T. Jones will work in every way possible to get possession of this house, and if he can do so, he will present in it theories that should never be heard. I know whereof I speak in this matter, and if you had believed the warnings that have been given, you would have moved understandingly.

"Now in all kindness, with no feeling of resentment whatever, but with perfect good humor I say to you, Sister White, and to everybody; and I say it solemnly before God to be met in the judgment as the truth that those statements concerning me are not true. They were not true when they were written, they have never been true at any moment since they were written, and they will never come true in any sense whatever. I not only never did "all" that I possibly could, to get possession of the Tabernacle, I never thought on it, nor thought of it. This I know in the same way that I know that I am alive, or that I am here this moment writing this to you. . . .

"And all this time of a year and a half or more after it was copied while the communication was being used far and wide to warn the people of my great wickedness, apostasy, and antagonism, there was I going quietly along totally ignorant of any such thing being in existence, and at the same time as innocent of what it charged as was any child in the world.

"Yet in that communication you say: 'I know whereof I speak.' In respectful reply, and in all kindness, I say: Sister White, you did not know whereof you spoke; for there is not a vestige of truth in it; and neither you nor anybody else can know what is not so. And while I cannot absolutely know of another, as I know of myself, yet I do firmly believe that what is said of Dr. Kellogg is just as completely untrue, as I know to be untrue what is said of me.

"Further there stand the words: 'In accordance with the light the Lord has given me... I say to you that Elder A.T. Jones and Dr. Kellogg will make every effort possible to get possession of the Tabernacle.'

"There stand the words: 'This is the word of the Lord to you and to others. Elder A.T. Jones will work in every possible way to get possession of this house.' Sister White, the simple truth is that that is not light at all for it is not true at all. And the Lord never gave it to you, for the Lord does not give nor tell what is not true. This is not "the word of the Lord" at all; for it never was true: and I know that the Lord never says what is not true. Besides, if that were truly from the Lord, it would have been given to me first of all, instead of to everybody but me, and never at all to me. Do you suppose that I am going to believe that the Lord disregards His own word and takes a course directly contrary to that laid down for us to take that we may 'follow in His steps?' That is impossible.

"The Lord knows perfectly well that I never made any effort at all; that I never worked in any way at all; and that I never thought at all to get possession of the Tabernacle. And the Lord knows perfectly well that I and Dr. Kellogg never acted together, nor spoke together, nor thought together, to any such purpose as getting possession of the Tabernacle. . . .

"Also Sister White, you may remember that this is not the first tine that I have been placed by you under the necessity of telling you that what you had said was not at all true. The other time was in July 1903 in your home at "Elmshaven" when you had called me at the Sanitarium to come down to your house. You began very positively to talk to me. When I had listened with some surprise for a considerable length of time you may remember that I halted you and, looking straight into your eyes, said: 'Sister White, there is not a particle of truth in what you are saying.' Upon this you instantly dropped that strain and turned the conversation to another subject. . . .

"At Berrien Springs, Michigan, in the time of the Lake Union Conference in 1904, speaking of the book Living Temple, you said publicly to the congregation in the assembly hall:

"'I never read the book; but Willie sat down by my side and read to me some of the most objectionable passages. And I said to him; 'Willie, that is just what was back there in New England,' etc., etc.

"Now, Sister White, I said then, and I say now, and I shall say forever, that I have not a particle of confidence in Willie's inspiration to select and read to you 'the most objectionable passages' of that book, or any other writing, as a basis for your denouncing the book or writing a Testimony on the subject. I know that John Huss and Jerome were burned at the stake, and Wickliffe and Luther were pursued and persecuted to their graves, solely upon "some of the most objectionable passages" of their writings selected and read by opposing and prejudiced people.

"I know that Willie presented to me some of these 'most objectionable passages' of his selection. And I know that the objectionable meaning which he put into the passages to make them 'objectionable passages' was directly contrary to the meaning that stands in plain passages in the plain printed words. . . .

"In 1902 there had been printed a leaflet sermon of mine on 'The Revelation of God.' I had been informed that in his addresses in these Union Conferences, Brother Prescott had taken a single sentence from this sermon of mine and had read that single sentence in with passages from books that he said were 'Pantheistic' (and books not one of which I ever saw) in such a way as to make it appear that I was teaching "Pantheism" equally with those others." (Letter from A.T. Jones to EGW, April 26, 1909. Emphasis supplied.)

So far his letter to Ellen G. White. There are several things we are to note in this letter.

1. Some of the brethren are asking pertinent questions about Ellen G. White's testimonies. This comes to her knowledge.

2. In a "vision" several persons were mentioned by name, and asked to write down their perplexities. God would then help to clear them up.

3. Faithful to this testimony, some of the brethren mentioned by name wrote their perplexities to Ellen White, but then she suddenly gets a new "vision" in which God informs her not to spend time on this matter. They would not get any help from him.

4. None of the brethren who wrote to Ellen White got a reply from her. Dr. David Paulson was the only one who got a partial "answer", mostly by quotes from her writings.

5. The private letter Dr. Stewart wrote to Ellen White came instead in the hands of A.G. Daniells, the president of the General Conference. Daniells published Dr. Stewart's private letter to create the impression that it was an attack on Ellen White and her writings.

6. Occasionally, testimonies from Ellen White were being sent - not to the person in question, but to others, who got them printed and published. The person whom the testimony was written to, learned of this after considerable time had passed.

7. On several occasions Ellen White accused A.T. Jones for having done certain things he most definitely was not guilty of, and she took heaven as witness to her accusations. This is bearing false witness.

There is no doubt that the two contradicting "visions" A.T. Jones is referring to, were false. Our Heavenly Father does not operate this way. In this case Ellen White presents God as a capricious God who changes his mind from day to day. First of all, God gives a promise, and when the brethren in question are faithful to the call, God suddenly withdraws his promise. These "visions" were definitely not from the God of heaven, regardless of what Ellen White may claim. A.T. Jones however tells, that this was not the first time he caught her in telling lies.

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